OSU-OKC farmers market to move to Scissortail Park
The Farmers Market at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, a citywide draw for more than 20 years, will merge with Scissortail Park this spring to create a destination Saturday market in the heart of downtown.
Brad Williams, president of OSU-OKC, said Thursday the move will allow the market to increase in both number of vendors and variety of offerings. Scissortail Park, the largest in the city, opened in September.
“We are thrilled to partner with Scissortail Park to bring this expanded vision of the market to the people of Oklahoma City,” Williams said. “The location next to the new convention center will help create a destination for local residents and tourists alike.”
The Scissortail market will be located at the northeast corner of Scissortail Park, adjacent to the performance stage. The existing market on the OSU-OKC campus will remain open through the end of February.
The north half of Scissortail Park opened in September as part of a 70-acre, $132 million destination built as part of MAPS 3. Plans call for the market to be open each year from April through October. The market at its current location is open throughout the year with indoor space available during the winter months.
Whether all of the vendors make the move is uncertain. Letitia Pierce, owner of Garden Anywhere Box, a vendor at OSU-OKC for the past five years, responded she believes most vendors “won’t be moving.” She added she was given no warning or notice of the change and that she was “totally shocked and blindsided.” OSU-OKC emailed notices to vendors an hour before the deal was announced.
“The OSU-OKC farmers market will be closing,” Pierce said. “They've wanted to close the market for a while, and now they've succeeded. The park is great, but what about the vendors that use freezers for their meat and other things? The OSU-OKC farmers’ market was the only market that was open year 'round.”
Williams believes the move from the OSU-OKC campus to Scissortail Park allows the market to expand exponentially and provide a “more robust and enriching experience for visitors,” while at the same time providing valuable programming at the park. In addition, it allows OSU-OKC to fulfill its land-grant mission by helping coordinate educational programming at the market and park.
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Scissortail Park Executive Director Maureen Heffernan said the merger allows leaders to deliver on a key goal for the park. The park hosted a farmers market this fall and the location is across the street from the future convention center and 17-story Omni Hotel.
“One of our visions for Scissortail Park was to create a bustling Saturday morning farmers market with grown-in-Oklahoma produce and foods, along with music and activities for visitors to enjoy,” Heffernan said. “Setting a wonderful farmers market in a beautiful park creates an exciting destination for all on Saturday mornings in downtown Oklahoma City.”
Heffernan said plans call for increasing the number of vendors at the market and adding performers, food demonstrations and seasonal activities to make it into a weekly event for locals and visitors.
Representatives of the university and park said they believe the market will become a regional and even national tourist destination.
OSU-OKC spokesman Nick Trougakos said the market routinely draws between 30 and 40 farm vendors where it has operated since 1996. He said an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people shop the market during the peak of the growing season and about 1,000 visit off-season. The market is located toward the south end of the campus at NW 10 and Portland Avenue.
“It can’t grow. It can’t expand,” Trougakos said. “We have vendors on the waiting list who can’t get in. But at Scissortail, it can be anything. We envision dozens and dozens of vendors.”